Top 7 Skills Your Graphic Design Portfolio Should Showcase

written by Editor Georgia Schumacher 4 April 2013

Margaret Helthaler

By Guest Blogger, Margaret D. Helthaler
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division
Assistant Online Program Director, Graphic Design & Digital Design

Graphic designers demonstrate their abilities to potential clients and/or employers in a portfolio of their work. Below are seven important skills that are essential to developing a competitive portfolio. Depending on your area of work, some skills may need to be emphasized more than others.

1. Design Skills: Using basic design elements (point, line, plane, shape, form, space and texture) and basic design concepts (balance, unity, variety, rhythm, harmony, contrast, dominance, movement, and appropriateness) to organize and convey information. Interactive Designers must demonstrate strong design skills.

2. Art Skills: Employing color-theory, drawing, painting and/or mixed media techniques to create imagery. Illustrative Information Designers must demonstrate strong art skills.

3. Conceptual Skills: Developing and analyzing ideas by conducting research and brainstorming to ensure design outcomes meet specific objectives. Persuasive Advertising and Brand Designers and Packaging Designers must demonstrate strong conceptual skills.

4. Process Skills: Following the standard steps involved to bring a project to completion (research, sketches, digital comps, final solution – as well as professional communication with clients and/or employers).

5. Typography Skills: Selecting, combining and setting type effectively in design layouts under a variety of conditions. Publication Designers must demonstrate strong typography skills.

6. Software Skills: Adjusting and creating raster graphics/images in Adobe Photoshop, vector graphics/images in Adobe Illustrator and combining elements with type in page layout in Adobe InDesign. Production Artists must demonstrate strong software skills.

7. Production Skills: Understanding the requirements and considerations for various output options for print (including packaging) and screen. Production Artists must demonstrate strong production skills.

Design skillsArt SkillsConceptual and ProcessTypographySoftwareProduction

Learn more about the Graphic Design programs at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division today.